Ordinary Affects

Kathleen Stewart

Everyday life is a life lived on the level of surging affects, impacts suffered or barely avoided. It takes everything we have. But it also spawns a series of little somethings dreamed up in the course of things.

I’ve been revisiting an active appreciation of the ordinary of the everyday, mostly in swapping moments of banal profundity in emails and texts. This collection of vignettes delves into that ability to be moved by subtle dramas and to find significance in small movements, mostly by relating similar stories. As a book its threads are fragmented, not woven together in any traditional narrative structure, but rather create impressionistic and poetic arcs.

The vagueness or the unfinished quality of the ordinary is not so much a deficiency as a resource, like a fog of immanent forces still moving even though so much has already happened and there seems to be plenty that’s set in stone.
      This is no utopia. Not a challenge to be achieved or an ideal to be realized, but a mode of attunement, a continuous responding to something not quite already given and yet somehow happening.